It is funny to sit back and hear the stories about how various racing enthusiasts became hooked on our great sport. Many are born into the industry and have greyhound racing pulsing through their veins from birth. However for some, like Somersby trainer Dawn Garrett, their introductions are more of a coincidence- yet the racing fever is no less severe
“I have been involved on and off in the sport for 38 years. I was only very young when I got introduced to greyhounds- my parents didn’t have them, but I got introduced to them through Tricia and Sam Cauchi when they used to live down in Sydney at Box Hill”, Garrett explained
“My mum used to sell Tupperware and Trish had a Tupperware Party and me and my sister went out with mum. The dogs were there, I have always loved animals, and I just fell in love with them and it went from there”
When Garrett purchased a white and black bitch in 2006, she could have had no idea what the daughter of Solve The Puzzle and Racy Princess would go on to achieve.
“I bought her as a pup off Neal Gray and I was very lucky to get her actually. She was the only bitch in the litter and he had three dog pups for sale. At the time I was staying up at Grafton and I saw them advertised. I always loved Solve The Puzzle, so I came down to have a look at them and he knew I was wanting a bitch and he said ‘seeing as how you come all that way if you want to buy the bitch you can buy her’”
“It was just lucky for me that he changed his mind and sold her to me rather than one of the dogs”
Racing under the moniker Little Egyptian, Garrett’s little darling turned into a nice little money spinner. The 25 kilogram pocket rocket won 11 races with 20 minor placings from 73 career starts
“I was very happy with what she did on the track. She never won a race in town but I think she would have had I had the proper opportunity”
“I took her to Albion where she led but got run down. She still ran second and the dog that beat her turned out to be a handy stayer up there”
“I trialled her and she did a toe and I could never get her back right after that. She tore the ligaments and had she not done that and I kept going with her I would have gone back to Albion with her over the 600 and I reckon she would have won a race there”
While she was a handy racebitch, it was when she made the move to the breeding barn that her talent shone through, producing a pup that would mature into arguably Australia’s fastest bitch, Punch One Out
“I wasn’t even sure whether she would throw anything- I just had the opportunity to breed with her which was really good and she has surprised me with what she has thrown”
Garrett chose the sensational speedster Knocka Norris for Little Egyptian’s first litter- a decision that has proved to be a masterstroke, just not for the reason she was expecting
“I always liked the dog on the track- he was a lovely looking dog and he was very fast. I was hoping he would have put a bit of early pace into the pups- but that didn’t quite happen”, Garrett laughed.
Garrett kept one pup from the litter of eight- selling the rest.
“I kept one, Pride Of Egypt, and I sold the rest because I wasn’t sure whether she would throw”
“Grant (Fennelly- owner/trainer Punch One Out) bought her and a dog- One Inch Punch- and we reared them here for him and he took them up there when they were about 12 months old. He got her very cheap actually- I sold them all cheap because I didn’t know what they would be, I just wanted to place them and have them sold. He actually only paid $800 for her”
While the whole litter is talented, there is no doubt that Punch One Out is a standout. The black bitch is a dual track record holder at Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) while she also took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park last month. After finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Topgun last week, Punch One Out will be aiming to redeem herself next Thursday when she lines up for the four dog Group 3 Shootout at Sandown.
“This is the first actual litter that I have bred completely by myself. I have whelped other bitches over the years, but this is the first litter I have bred out of my own bitch. She (Little Egyptian) has just really amazed me with the sort of pups she could produce”
“It’s exciting to think that my little girl produced that and it is exciting to see them get in the group races. I would love to see her win the Shootout next week”
“There has been a couple of people that have knocked the litter a bit- they were quick to criticize her (Punch One Out)- when she broke the record at Wenty they all said the track was lightning fast. But she won that Group race up at Albion a few weeks ago, so she (Little Egyptian) is a Group producer now and if she could win this Shootout it would be absolutely lovely”
“I follow all of them- I watch them all to see how they go. They are not mine, but they are like mine because I whelped them and reared them, so it is nice to follow them and see how they go”
Garrett is awaiting the return of her chaser from the litter, Pride Of Egypt, which has been sidelined for almost a month. The white and black dog has a stack of talent- winning 10 from 24 with seven minor placings. His last start was at Wentworth Park where he ran unplaced behind Lucy Wires in the Group 3 Sydney Cup
“He just wasn’t right with his tonsils- they were a bit sore and it did tell on him in the race. I think had he been right then, he probably would have gone very close to winning it. The time was only average and especially with Smart Valentino out of the race it really opened it right up and he had trialled a lot quicker there than what they ran”
“Hopefully he will come back a lot better- he has had a lot of trouble with his tonsils. I have had them out and he is ready to start work again”
It will be an exciting and hectic few months for Garrett with the next litter out of Little Egyptian off to the breakers soon and the valuable broodbitch ready to whelp in the next week
“I’m just waiting to see what the next litter are like- they are 12 months old to El Grand Senor, I kept two of them”
“I am sending them away to be broken in on the first of next month so it is going to be interesting to see how they go and she is about to whelp again back to Knocka Norris- this time next week she should have them”
“I went back to Knocka again because after what she threw in the first litter, I really had to go back there. I managed to get another straw off Sam a fair while back. She is definitely in pup and she looks nice and big”